‘Shakai Peace March’: Thousands of students urge govt to resolve local disputes through Parleys, Courts

Hamid Ullah Wazir

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: In what could be dubbed a historical step, a huge number of students took a “Peace March” in tehsil Shakai, District South Waziristan, to press the government to ensure resolution of the local tribal disputes through parleys and courts as the region has already suffered immensely due to the war against terrorism.

The participants of “Shakai Peace March”, who were around 5000, urged the government to resolve the land-standing between Sperkai and Khujal Khel as the bloodshed could not only put their future at risk but could also disrupt the hard-earned peace in the scenic valley.

Tehsil Shakai, with a population of around 70,000, is one of the most picturesque valleys, which is located some 33 km north of Wana, headquarter of the SWA. People from all over the region visit the beautiful hill resorts especially on Eid festivals to immerse themselves in mountains covered with lush green trees, cold atmosphere, fresh air and most importantly, clouds on the roads hugging you full of happiness.

Shakai rose to fame due to the famous agreement inked between Peshawar Corps Commander Lt Gen Safdar Hussain and Taliban commander Nek Muhammad on April 24, 2004, who was later droned to death in the first US drone strike inside Pakistan in 2004.

Shakai remained the most peaceful teshsil during the whole troubled time, but such tribal disputes could sabotage the hard-maintained peaceful environment of the area.

It is pertinent to mention here that two main tribes of the valley namely Sperkai and Khujal Khel are at loggerhead over land dispute in which both the tribes suffered huge losses.

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Despite huge loss, no tangible and permanent solution has been find out to their disputed land hitherto due to which two weeks ago people of both the tribes again resorted to firing in which several people sustained injuries.

Following the firing incident, the situation in the scenic Shakai valley is quite tense for the last around 15 days as numerous jirgas held several rounds of talks to find out solution to the dispute but they are yet to break the deal.

Therefore, sensing the gravity of the fast soaring security situation in the region, the schools and seminaries students of two tehsils including Shakai and Tiarza decided to take the “Shakai Peace March” in which around 5000 people participated as the educated youths also joined them in order to press the concern quarters to ensure peaceful resolution to their local disputes mainly related to the land.

The minor students from primary to high schools and maddaris of both the tehsils were holding placards and banners inscribed with slogans “We want Peace Not war”, “Local disputes should be resolved through parleys” and “Government should play its role to resolve tribal disputes peacefully”.

Speaking on the occasion, they said that Shakai remained the most peaceful teshsil during the whole troubled time after inking historical “Shakai Agreement”, but such tribal disputes could sabotage the hard-maintained peaceful environment of the area.

Owing to the war on terror and the subsequent military operations, the tribal region in general and South Waziristan in particular were badly affected, where people were forced to leave their homes; however in such critical situation, tehsil Shakai remained the most peaceful area in the region.

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However, the peaceful security situation could be disturbed in the area due to the unresolved land dispute issues between various tribes mainly due to the government and other relevant quarters’ inactive role to find out peaceful and amicable solution to such disputes.

They demanded that the government should play its due role to resolve the disputes because if god forbid fight erupted once again it could cause huge men and martial loss.

They expressed their surprise that despite abolishment of the draconian law Frontier Crimes Regulations (FCR) and the extension of judicial and police system in the wake of the merger of the tribal districts to the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, the provincial government seemed nowhere to play its role to resolve the fast soaring issues in the area.

The minor students were of the view that when they went to schools they are scared as if fight erupted between the two tribes, who are still in morchas despite occasional ceasefire for few days, what will they do and in such tense situation even our parents are reluctant to send us to schools and madrassa.

They urged their elders to vacate the ‘morchas’ and shun the culture of finding solution to every problems through fight and guns and advised them to sit and find out peaceful and amicable solution to all their mutual problems as they are fed up of the culture of feuds and wars and would not tolerate them anymore.

The educated youth and teachers were also participated in the march and expressed solidarity with minor souls for their historical, courageous and unprecedented initiative and held them out their assurance that they are standby them and would not let the elders to sabotage the peaceful environment of the area and also urged the government, army, police and judiciary to play their role to resolve the issues instead of playing a role of silent spectators.

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